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England legend Terry Butcher wants heading banned to stop ‘catastrophic’ injury

The Mirror has long highlighted the links between heading and dementia and now former England captain Terry Butcher, famously photographed with a bloodied, bandaged head in 1989, believes it is ‘something we can do without’

Butcher in 1989 match with Sweden

England legend Terry Butcher wants heading banned from football.

The former Three Lions captain – famously photographed with a bloodied, bandaged head in 1989 – said it should be gradually phased out to prevent “catastrophic” head injuries.

Butcher, 62, said he now believes heading the ball is “something we can do without”.

The Daily Mirror has long highlighted the links between heading and dementia.

When Nobby Stiles died last year he was the fifth member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning team to have been diagnosed with the illness.

Butcher said: “Eventually I want to see football with no heading.

“Its something that’s been strong, particularly in Britain with the way we used to play, but not so much now.

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Butcher’s calling for a ban
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Tough Butcher is the latest to speak out about the dangers of heading
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“It would rule out the trauma of heading a ball, particularly at pace – brain trauma, as your brain is going to rattle against your skull.

“I don’t think people realise the importance of this and that there’s something in football that can be catastrophic for players in the future.

“Tackles now are really watered down from what they were in my era because of the risk of a red card. Heading can adapt as well.”



Butcher in the air for Rangers
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Stiles’ family has said football must “address the scandal” of dementia in the game.

Research found ex-players are three and a half times more likely to die of dementia than the general population.

The Football Association recommends a maximum of “10 higher-force headers” are carried out in any training week.

The practice is banned in under-11s sessions and restricted for other age groups.









Butcher, who played centre-back for Ipswich and Rangers, wounded his head playing for England in 1989, leaving him covered in blood.

He told a BBC podcast: “People just saw the games, they didn’t see the training.

“Heading was an integral part – every week trying to clear lines, defend crosses.

“We’ve seen footballers of the past who got dementia.

“It breaks your heart.







“The family are the ones that will really suffer.”

The FA said: “We have made changes to the way the game is played.

“This includes issuing heading guidance across every level of the football pyramid.”

A study of top division players from 1966 shows 40% of those who have died had dementia.


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